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Engineers highlight importance of track welding standards Friday November 24, 2023

Light rail engineers from across the UK have identified improvements to track welding methods as an effective way to improve operational performance on the nation’s tramways.

By adopting best practice across the sector, welding failures in embedded grooved track can be avoided, reducing the risk of costly repairs and service disruption.

The issue was addressed during a best practice workshop for members of the UKTram Engineering Group, which also included a presentation by Chris McKeown Pandrol, Head of Operations at ATW UK, Ireland and Scandinavia.

Phil Terry, UKTram Lead Engineer, explained: “Correctly, and to standard, welded grooved track is essential for the safe and efficient running of any light rail network, and the meeting provided an ideal opportunity for sector professionals and industry leads to share best practice and discuss guidance. This is especially important where procurement occurs outside the operator or maintainer remit.”

Led by LREG Chair Marilena Papadopoulou, Renewals Manager at Edinburgh Trams, the meeting was well attended once again, and included updates from the networks, the ORR and the Light Rail Safety and Standards Board. Specific incidents and ongoing investigations in the light rail sector were provided by Simon Lomax, Principal Inspector of Rail Accidents, RAIB.

“Fortunately, serious incidents are rare, but it is vital that the sector learns all it can from them, and these updates highlighted the work being done to help make the nation’s tramways safer through investigations, recommendations, and the ongoing development of relevant light rail safety guidance,” Phil added.